Essay on Closing the Gap

Submitted By katieannhope
Words: 1650
Pages: 7

Close the Gap
The history of Australia in its aspect of racial-based policies and the relation between the population of European origin and Indigenous Australians people is a complex, controversial, and highly sensitive sphere that does not lend itself to straightforward and unambiguous interpretations. It would be hard to debate the statement that “Australia is both colony and colonizer – both dominant and subordinate. Many old certainties – or myths – are dissolving… and new myths are being forged” (Jakubowicz, 2010). These myths, however, may shift the focus towards the practice of continued discussions where neither party can have the upper hand. Such discussions may obscure the essence of the problem, which concerns the disparity of health status between Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australian people in Australia and the ways of eliminating it.

The colonization of Australia had devastating effects for Indigenous Australians Australians who were forced into unproductive areas where they had to survive on scanty food supplies. It is a generally recognized fact nowadays that “white descendants of British colonists have dominated [the U.S.A., Canada and Australia] politically and economically for centuries” (Vickers & Isaac, 2012, p. 3). The Australian government also tried to preserve “the purity” of the white race and its predominantly Anglo-Saxon origin by its racial policies of out casting Indigenous Australians into reserves, without a permission for Indigenous Australians to leave them or cohabitate with white people (A.O. Neville and the Native Administration Act of 1936 (2013). A number of other legislative acts were issued; one of the most notorious of them was the Aborigines Act that allowed the Chief Protector of Indigenous Australians to take half-caste Indigenous Australians children from their families. These children had to forget their Aboriginal heritage and were taught to embrace the basics of European culture taught by the white people. The children taken from their families by force were very young; they were unable to remember their names or their parents afterwards and thus became completely severed from their historical and social background, traditional ways of living, and, the most tragic of the losses, from their parents that had no chance of maintaining any contacts with their children or even getting any information about their whereabouts or living. These children are called the Stolen Generation, and many of them had to live the rest of their lives with a fractured identity, the feeling and worldview that had a negative effect on their family life and cultural ties (The legal status of child removal in South Australia (2013). All these actions had far-reaching consequences; the people’s psychology, mental health, and other aspects contributing to health were profoundly affected.
The role of the government in formatting the previous and current policies related to Indigenous Australians never ceased to be the issues of heated debates. “The history of the politics of race has been subject to bitter interpretive wars among historians and in partisan politics” (Vickers & Isaac, 2012, p. x). An example of such a denial of the damage inflicted on Indigenous Australians people is Keith Windschuttle’s article (2010). In it, the author claims that “the concept of the Stolen Generations was invented” and that since 1915, the Aboriginal population experienced a population boom (Windschuttle, 2010). Such theories are aimed at sustaining the racially-based politics and attitudes; however, they are in stark contrast to many stories of Indigenous Australians (After the apology, 2009). One of the most striking examples of such stories is Molly Kelly’s life story who became the heroine of the well-known film Rabbit-Proof Fence and died at the age of 87 unable to reunite with her daughter that had been taken from her 60 years earlier (Stephens, 2004). The journey of 1,600 kilometers…